Posts tagged juno
Tame Impala Production Tricks

In just under a decade, Kevin Parker, the mastermind behind Tame Impala’s music, has formed a distinct sound that has captured the ears of music lovers all around the world. I, being one of them, found a keen interest in trying to figure out how Parker makes everything sound the way it does. After doing some research, I realised that trying to achieve this sound would be impossible without draining my wallet, until I noticed that many of the techniques used in Tame Impala’s songs can be done by simply manipulating effects in music software programs such as Ableton Live. Using these techniques, I managed to pull off some covers that could be associated with Parker himself. In this article, I will be using an original piece I made in Ableton to showcase the sounds of Tame Impala. 

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Mac DeMarco Synth Sounds

Welcome to another synth tutorial for Mac DeMarco synths, if you haven't already then check out part one, a tutorial on the synths in 'Chamber of Reflection'. In that article I looked at a Roland Juno sound and an organ sound and processed them with some tape emulation plugins to create Mac's signature woozy sound. In this article I'll look at a couple more Mac songs and try to copy the patches within my DAW. Mac's new album This Old Dog is his most synth-heavy album yet, with dreamy sounding synths sitting alongside his classic chorused guitar playing. I'll also look at a song from his mini-album Another One that came out in 2015. Mac's favourite synths, judging by the sounds the appear on his albums, videos of his live performances, and pictures of his home studio, are the Roland Juno-60 and Yamaha DX7. Both synths are timeless classics with unmatchable sound, however both have a wealth of imitators and emulations that can be found inexpensively. Throughout the article I'm going to use TAL U-NO-LX for the Juno sounds and Native Instruments FM8 for the DX7 sounds; for free options check out TAL U-NO-62 and Dexed.

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Tame Impala - 'Cause I'm a Man Synth Sounds

'Cause I’m a Man was the lead single and second song released from Currents, Tame Impala’s 3rd offering. The songs lyrics deal with masculinity, and musically it adds an unmistakable soft rock, r’n’b flavour to the Tame Impala sound spectrum. Lots of different elements are used to accompany Kevin Parker’s vocal performance, with the majority of them coming from Parker's Roland Juno-106 and JV-1080 synths, the latter of which he coaxes several almost orchestral sounds from. The cover's two chrome spheres may refer to the 'greater force [man] answers to', and the song's press release alludes to the songs conception on road.

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Deconstructing Kanye West’s Good Morning Beat

Good Morning is the first song on Kanye West’s third album, 2007’s Graduation. The song follows The College Dropout and Late Registration’s academic theme, whilst presenting itself as more mature and focused than it’s predecessor by opening with an introspective song instead of a skit. The song was produced solely by West, although Graduation saw him allowing others to co-produce his work more than previously. Kanye uses two samples in Good Morning, one of Elton John and another from Jay-Z, which are accompanied by layers of keyboards provided by London-based producer Andy Chatterley. In this tutorial, I'll talk you through the synth patches and how Kanye chops up his samples.

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BadBadNotGood Synth Sounds

BadBadNotGood are a Canadian instrumental band that combines jazz with electronica, and traditional instrumentation with psychedelic synth sounds. In 2016 they released IV, which BBC Radio 6 picked as their album of the year. The album finds the band using odd rhythms, jazz-influenced harmony, and long, dub-like delays, and they bring on several guest vocalists to accompany them. For live performances, they use a Roland Juno-60 for synth lines and a Korg SV-1 for the electric piano tones. It’s likely the SV-1 provided most of the Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Clavinet and Organ sounds on IV. They have also used a Dave Smith Prophet 08 in the past for synths, though this seems to have been replaced by the Juno. Additionally, the album credits for IV list a variety of synths used, including the Juno-60, a Yamaha CS-80, a Korg Poly Six, and a Crumar electric organ. The CS-80 (or 60) might have been used more on the album and just not been toured with for being a vintage instrument. Although there are fantastic emulations of the CS-80 and the Poly Six, I’ll stick to TAL U-NO-LX for the recreations, because it's easy to use, sounds great, and will keep the tutorial from being too plugin-heavy.

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Drive Synth Sounds

The movie Drive came out in 2011, mixing stylish violence with a subdued thoughtfulness, and has become a modern classic. The film is influenced by European cinema and 80's retro nostalgia, and it opened up the doors to similar 80's retro-inspired works like The Guest, Stranger Things and It Follows. The original soundtrack features ambient works by Cliff Martinez, and the soundtrack also makes memorable use of several synthwave songs by artists such as Kavinsky, College and Electric Youth.The movie was also rescored by Radio 1 in 2014, replacing the original score with an array of new songs by modern artists, a nice but poorly received homage.

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Childish Gambino - Sober Synths

In 2014, Childish Gambino released the EP Kauai. Named after the Hawaiian island, Kauai joins the mixtape STN MTN as part of a dual concept album intended to be a follow-up to 2013's because the internet. The EP sees Gambino, stage-name of Donald Glover, reunited with long-term collaborator Ludwig Göransson, a multi-instrumentalist as well as a producer. Göransson plays guitar as well as keyboards, and owns an enviable collection of music equipment. Kauai produced one single, Sober, that contains all my favourite instrumental elements; smooth Fender Rhodes, growling synth bass, chorused Roland Juno chords and a great drum beat to underpin it all.

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Mild High Club Synth Sounds

Mild High Club is the psychedelic project of Alex Brettin, based originally from Chicago and now Los Angeles. The latest album, 2016's Skiptracing, oozes with 60's pop influences and spaced-out guitars and keyboards; it also contains a confident musicality, influenced by baroque and jazz harmony. In interviews, Brettin has mentioned having formal music tuition, which likely informs his musicality, and he seems to use whatever equipment he has to hand, with many elements of his sound coming down to unconventional use of effects and sonic experimentation.

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Timecop1983 Synth Sounds

Synthwave is an electronic music genre heavily influenced by 80’s synthpop and film soundtracks, and has reached wider popularity in the last 10 years. One of it’s most popular artists is Timecop1983, a Dutch musician otherwise known as Jody Leenaerts, who combines nostalgic 80s synths with a dream-pop production aesthetic and melancholy songwriting. Last year he released the EP _Lovers, Pt. 2_, a follow-up to 2016’s _Lovers, Pt. 1_, which I’ll focus on deconstructing in this article.

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Kanye West - Saint Pablo Synths

Kanye West's seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016 and eschewed a traditional release, instead being exclusive to Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service for over a month upon release. The album has been revised several times since its release, with West reworking lyrics, adding guest vocals and tweaking the mix, going on to call the album a “living breathing changing creative expression.”. Four months after the album's initial release it was again updated with an additional song, Saint Pablo, appended to the album.

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HOMESHAKE Synth Sounds

HOMESHAKE, aka Peter Sagar, is a solo musician from Montreal known for RnB influenced indie-pop with a lo-fi, home-recorded aesthetic. Formerly Mac DeMarco's live guitarist, Sagar uses cheap synthesizers and drum machines to accompany his guitar playing and soft vocal delivery; his newest album, 2017's Fresh Air, expands upon his sound by incorporating adult-orientated rock into his palette. I'll dive into his sound, analysing the equipment Sagar uses to craft his sound and the way that Sagar likes to choose and program his tracks.

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Stranger Synths | Eight Fifteen

This past Friday, Netflix released the much awaited second season of its hit series Stranger Things, and season 1 composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Austin-based synthwave band S U R V I V E returned for the second season with another excellent offering of 80's influenced synth music. The duo tend to favour vintage hardware synths and gravitate towards warm, lush analog sounds and emotional arrangements. Episode One of the new season, 'MADMAX', ends with a scene of Hopper and Eleven eating dinner accompanied by an uplifting synth piece called Eight Fifteen, which I'll break apart in this article.

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Stranger Synths | New Order - Elegia

I'm going to start the series off by looking at the song that plays during fake Will's funeral, Elegia by New Order. A dark instrumental featuring eerie sounding synths and guitars, the song was written in memory of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band's former incarnation, Joy Division. The song was originally recorded in 1985 for the album Low-Life, and a 17 minute version was also released in 2002. Although not part of the original soundtrack composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon from Survive, the lush and eerie synths of Elegia sound right at home in Stranger Things. Many people will also know the song from the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer; here's my remake using some of the synths I'll cover:

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Beach House Keyboard Sounds

Beach House are a quintessential dream-pop band, they hail from Baltimore and a big part of their sound is their layering of keyboards, mostly vintage organs and string synths. The duo don't seem too fussy about the gear they use, instead relying on old, cheap organs for their beats. A Pitchfork article described their practice space: "Old tour set pieces and at least 20 vintage organs—they call them “grandma organs”—line one half of the large room." They don't talk about gear much in interviews and there are no pictures of the band recording, so it's tough to figure out exactly which keyboards these "grandma organs" are. Although organs are a big part of the Beach House sound, another huge factor that I won't cover as much is their muted drum beats and guitarist Alex Scally's work, which is mostly a clean Fender Strat played with a slide through a lot of reverb. Instead I'll focus on their synth heavy songs to work out what makes that element of their sound so unique.

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Pond – Paint Me Silver Synth

Pond recently released their seventh studio album The Weather and it's fantastic, after my Sweep Me Off My Feet tutorial I've had a couple of requests for the synths in 'Paint Me Silver'. What a lot of people don't know is that the main hook is based on a Todd Rundgren & Utopia song called Cosmic Convoy. Although 'Paint Me Silver' starts out with a direct sample from 'Cosmic Convoy', the main hook is based on the lead lick later in the song overdubbed by the Pond members. I was lucky enough to see Pond on their recent tour and their live synth setup consisted of a Moog Sub Phatty, a Korg Poly-800 and a Dave Smith Prophet 08. They mostly used the Moog for basses and the Korg for chorused pad chords, and for 'Paint Me Silver' they used guitar for the lead, so it's hard to tell what was used for the studio recording. I played with some differents synths and decided that the lead synth is either the Korg Poly-800 or a Roland Juno-106, which they also use regularly.

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Mac DeMarco - Chamber of Reflection Synth

'Chamber of Reflection' really stands out on 'Salad Days' as the only song with none of Mac's signature chorused-guitar playing, instead using layers of dreamy sounding, swirling synths. Interestingly the hook of this song is lifted from a 1975 Shigeo Sekito song called "The Word II". A lot of sites and comments erroneously refer to Mac sampling this song, which is incorrect as the original recording isn't used in 'Chamber of Reflection', the ending of the melody is different. Instead the main theme has been re-recorded with synths and a live rhythm section. Here's my recreation that I'll talk you through

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Tame Impala Synth Sounds | Part Three

Welcome back to more Tame Impala synths. In this part I'll mostly tackle the synths sounds found on 'Lonerism'. I've already looked at 'Mind Mischief' and 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' in previous parts, so if you haven't already then check them out. I'll also look at the elusive Roland JV-1080 that was used to create the track 'Gossip' off of the latest album 'Currents'.

“And messing with sounds is easily my biggest hobby, so that makes it pretty fun… not having to think artistically and just being the guy with the hands on the knobs and switches.”

 

- Kevin Parker

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Tame Impala Synth Sounds | Part Two

Welcome back to another episode of Tame Impala Synth Sounds; Part 1 was mainly about the Roland Juno-106 patches on 'Currents' and how to recreate them using the original hardware or using software. In this article I'm going to look at some of the different sounds used and how to recreate them. As I go through I'll mention the original hardware, the software alternative I use, and then the free software alternatives.

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Tame Impala Synth Sounds

Tame Impala are a psychedelic band from Australia, their sound has mostly consisted of guitar heavy 60s/70s-style rock, washed out with delay and phasers. However their most recent album 'Currents' features heavy use of synthesizers and electronic elements, continuing the electronic experimentation found on 'Lonerism'. Although there is a huge variety of interesting sounds on 'Currents', by far the most common are the lush chorused sounds of the Roland Juno-106. The 106 was released in 1984 and has a classic 80s sound, with an easy to program interface.

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